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Is it all balls?


A few years ago one of my team members came to me at their wits end. Whilst hugely talented, they were struggling to win over their client group to the need to apply progressive HR management tools with their teams.

Now lets be clear these guys were uber difficult, think the bastard offspring of engineering, logistics and procurement and you’re not even getting close….engagement scores were rock bottom, turnover was high and it was easier to recruit vegan Ronald McDonalds than it was to get people into that area.

Now at that time a guy called Roy Keane was managing a soccer team called Sunderland. He had taken them from the bottom of the 24 team league to the top, within a year, and with very little change in personnel or investment.

And if there is one thing that turned these guys on it was football……

So together we hit upon a plan and built an intervention based on the teachings of Roy Keane…..

1) motivation,
2) teamwork,
3) shared goals and vision,
4) understanding how our role contributes to the vision,
5) recognition,
6) feedback on performance

It worked a dream, they bought in and before we knew it, very talented HR professional was leading them forward. Engagement scores went up and people started to consider working there as a career move that didn’t spell ultimate death. Now it wasn’t all down to the work of Mr. Keane but it started to engage minds.

Then yesterday I saw this and it reminded me of the Roy Keane tale. But at the same time it started me thinking is this another HR lesson to be learnt from soccer.

“…now any player late for a meeting, training or travel will have 10 per cent of their weekly salary deducted. That increases to 20 per cent for a second offence and 40 per cent for a third”

Now that’s my kind of management and surely worth a pitch to the Board!

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